Starring: Amy Smart, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Jayne Eastwood
Director: James Hayman
Running Time: 90 mins
12 Dates Of Christmas is an American film about a woman who is forced to relive Christmas Eve over and over again as she prepares for a blind date, while recovering from a recent break-up and coming to understand the impact of her actions on those around her.
Yes, it’s Groundhog Day at Christmas. Do we really need to say more? Well, while 12 Dates Of Christmas certainly wins no prizes for the originality of its premise, the film is actually a whole lot better than you might think at first glance, as it straddles the line between sweet, fluffy festive comedy and schmaltzy, one-dimensional Hallmark holiday movie.
Released for TV, if we look at 12 Dates Of Christmas as a generic Hallmark movie, then it’s one of the best you’ll ever see. With a likable main character played by Amy Smart, a fun concept, a good amount of laughs, delightful snow-covered sets and a classically cheesy festive message about being kind to those around you, there’s a lot to enjoy about 12 Dates Of Christmas.
If we look at the film as a festive rom-com competing with the big hitters of Hollywood, however, then it doesn’t look quite as good. While it’s perfectly enjoyable, the film is fantastically fluffy, with next to nothing in the way of dramatic conflict or emotional intrigue, featuring predictable story twists and abrupt character development, and a story that leans heavily on a much-overplayed premise.
So, it really depends on what you want from a movie like this. If you’re looking for a festive comedy to make you smile, and that you can sit back and enjoy without even thinking about for a second, then 12 Dates Of Christmas will absolutely do the job for you. There’s nothing challenging about it, you’ll know the story from Groundhog Day, and it’s a pretty nicely-produced movie too.
With that being said, if you’re looking for a Christmas movie with a little more to offer than something you’ve seen a thousand times before, then 12 Dates Of Christmas will probably prove a frustrating watch. It’s harmless, and runs for just 90 minutes, but it’s also not a film with anything particularly interesting about it, beyond being a lot better than its cheesy red, white and green colour palette might suggest.
Overall, then, I can’t deny that I quite liked 12 Dates Of Christmas, but it’s not a film that’s going to stick long in the memory for me. With a likable lead, a good few laughs, a nice story and all the festive fluff you could ask for, it’s a harmless and entirely easy-going watch, albeit not one that will be remembered for too long into the future. So, that’s why I’m giving 12 Dates Of Christmas a 7.0.